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Dick Cheney’s definition of torture is too stupid or insulting to let stand

REUTERS/Olivia Harris
What is Cheney up to?

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday on “Meet the Press” that the “enhanced interrogation techniques” weren’t torture. So, reasonably, “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd asked him to give his definition of what would constitute torture. Here’s what Cheney said:

“Well, torture, to me, Chuck, is an American citizen on a cell phone making a last call to his four young daughters shortly before he burns to death in the upper levels of the Trade Center in New York City on 9/11. There’s this notion that somehow there’s moral equivalence between what the terrorists and what we do. And that’s absolutely not true. We were very careful to stop short of torture. The Senate has seen fit to label their report torture. But we worked hard to stay short of that definition.”

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The 9/11 attacks were a moral crime of enormous magnitude, a mass murder, a massacre of innocents. But they have nothing to do with torture.

Here’s the definition of torture from the U.N. convention that bans torture, a document to which the United States is signatory:

“Torture’ means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”

What is Cheney up to? I always assumed he was a smart man. This is too stupid to let stand or else it is an insult to the intelligence of even the small portion of the U.S. population that watches “Meet the Press.”

Cheney did say during the interview that the administration relied on legal advice as to the boundaries of torture, and tried to create a program of “enhanced interrogation” that was on the non-torture side of those boundaries. I find that pretty ridiculous and insulting. But I suppose anyone who worked for Bush-Cheney administration was under a lot of pressure to let the CIA do whatever would work.

Personally, without having read all the documents, I don’t know if I believe the conclusion of the Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats that the torture didn’t “work” in terms of extracting information that couldn’t be discovered other ways. Even if it did, our government was bound by law not to torture prisoners.

It’s also easy to assume that Cheney’s answer was not intended as an answer but as a distraction, an effort to remind us of the fear, horror, panic and bloodlust in the wake of 9/11.

In any event, when Todd came back to give Cheney a chance to get real, it went exactly the same. Here is Cheney’s second answer to the how-do-you-define-torture question:

“I’ve told you what meets the definition of torture. It’s what 19 guys armed with airline tickets and box cutters did to 3,000 Americans on 9/11.”

By the way. Todd also asked Cheney whether the subsequent events in Iraq and the neighborhood since the end of “Operation Iraqi Freedom” give him any regrets about the decision to invade.

Cheney said no, and adverted to the generally discredited argument that Saddam Hussein had a substantial relationship with al-Qaida and that Saddam might have provided al-Qaida with WMD.

The full transcript of the Todd-Cheney interview is here.

Politifact checked the assertion Cheney made and ruled that his claim that there was a danger of Saddam providing WMD to al-Qaida was “false,” and that Cheney’s argument that the prisoners who were tortured were not covered by the Geneva Convention was rated “mostly false.” The full fact-check is here.

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Comments (110)

  1. Submitted by charles thompson on 12/15/2014 - 09:19 am.

    vp cheney

    When will Americas romance with this particular zombie movie finally end?

  2. Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 12/15/2014 - 09:47 am.

    Villainy, personified

    Dick Cheney will be remembered in history as the most awful President of the United States, methinks.

  3. Submitted by Leonard Foonimin on 12/15/2014 - 09:53 am.

    War Crimes

    Cheney, Rumsfeld and and the other neo-cons that fabricated this defense that ‘torture isn’t torture if the USA does it’ should be indicted for war crimes under international law and be tried at The Hague.

  4. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 12/15/2014 - 10:10 am.

    I’ll bet you were

    “We were very careful to stop short of torture. The Senate has seen fit to label their report torture. But we worked hard to stay short of that definition.”

    Bush and Cheney had their attorney Office of Legal Counsel John Yoo come up with a definition of “enhanced interrogation techniques” that authorized what was long held to be violations of the Geneva Convention. For this, the Dean of the University of California Law School has recommended that John Yoo be prosecuted for conspiracy to violate the war crimes law.

    Prosecution is not persecution. Let Yoo and Bush and Cheney for that matter be charged to let them defend the charges of war crimes in a court of law and have the issue resolved yes or no by a jury.

  5. Submitted by Kurt Nelson on 12/15/2014 - 10:29 am.

    There’s an old saying

    Even the greatest philosopher has difficulty with clarity of thought when they have a toothache. Imagine how clear your thoughts would be when you are made to stand on your broken feet for hours – sure that would elicit great intel.

    He is backed into a corner, so his tautological response is not a surprise. He is a coward, a liar, and will continue to show the Bush administration is guilty of war crimes.

  6. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/15/2014 - 10:43 am.

    The only point of even interviewing Cheney…

    Is to get these inane statements on the record. We can only hope that somehow someway they’ll be used in his trial, or at the very least at Bush, Tenet’s, or Rice’s trials.

  7. Submitted by Joe Smithers on 12/15/2014 - 11:01 am.

    Hindsight is always 20/20. What happened isn’t appropriate and neither is vilifying someone or others who were attempting to do something for the good of many. What they did may not have been right but it happened and now we need to move on from this bs political media circus rather than rehashing it over and over for political benefit.

    • Submitted by Alec Timmerman on 12/15/2014 - 11:26 am.


      I would just be happy, if people with your opinion would just be more honest. Basically, you are saying, “War crimes are okay if you are scared and/or have good intent.”

      There is a reason we have Laws of War. It is super easy to be moral and just in times of peace. It is much more difficult in the crucible of war. That is why we made laws of war. To guide our actions when we knew that individual, human weakness might fail us.

      • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 12/15/2014 - 01:19 pm.

        Don’t forget

        They were terrorists. I don’t intend to use the pen or feather on terrorists. I would never call what they did a war crime in the context of what has occurred.

        • Submitted by Rick Prescott on 12/15/2014 - 02:21 pm.

          Not exactly…

          Fully one fourth of those tortured turned out to be people held because of an error.

          Even if you decide that it’s OK to torture genuine terrorists, you still need to make sure that’s what you actually have.

          There is no safe moral ground for defending what they did — not even how scared we were as a country.

        • Submitted by Alec Timmerman on 12/16/2014 - 07:02 am.


          Letting the inhumanity of others dictate your own level of humanity is not how you act if you want to truly be exceptional. These crimes are not about their behavior, but ours.

          • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 12/16/2014 - 11:18 am.


            Yup, lets let the Taliban and ISIS continue to kill innocent people and children like the 141 that died at the hands of the Taliban today. Again, I said what they did was wrong since it did not provide valuable data and was considered torture but the intent was correct and an appropriate response was needed. We will have to find a different response that is appropriate from now on and it is time to move on from this political media circus. Is sending drones in to attack terrorists while killing innocent people an appropriate response? Many would also say that is irresponsible and considered a war crime. You tell me what is right. Turn the other cheek and do nothing while they continue to kill innocent men, women and children?

            • Submitted by Rick Prescott on 12/16/2014 - 12:12 pm.

              You Got It

              Well, for those who follow the teachings of Jesus, “turn the other cheek” is an exact quote describing the appropriate response.

              Retribution only brings more retribution, and a never-ending spiral of violence.

              • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 12/16/2014 - 01:14 pm.


                The only problem is the fact that islam and isis will never quit until anyone who is not strict islam is dead. Turning the other cheek seems to only achieve a quicker death. Stopping the spiral of violence would be a better option.

                • Submitted by Rick Prescott on 12/16/2014 - 02:40 pm.


                  So, in your opinion, Jesus was wrong. Or misguided. Or naive. Or weak. Or, dare I say, suicidal.

                  Fair enough, I guess. Look where his ideas of peace got him…

                  But you may want to check your “facts” on Islam. Most Muslims (like 99.999%) are not trying to kill you or me or anybody else.

                • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 12/16/2014 - 02:49 pm.

                  Stopping the spiral of violence??

                  Was that the result of the Bush/Cheney plans, policies and strategies?

                  Or did they strengthen the hand of radical Islam?

                  If the proof in in the result, you are certainly barking up the wrong tree.

                • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 12/20/2014 - 11:16 am.

                  The “spiral of violence” requires two to tango

                  Look at the Israel-Palestine situation. Both sides want to get that last lick in that will finally make the other side “behave.” They’ve been at it for 67 years and still think that killing more of the other side will work.

                  The Islamic terrorists in the West are chickens coming home to roost. I suppose it seemed like a good idea for France and Britain to colonize and exploit Islamic lands and for the U.S. to make alliances with feudal religious fanatics to secure oil (in Saudi Arabia) and to make life difficult for the Soviets (in Afghanistan), but actions have consequences.

                  Saddam Hussein, for all his dictatorial ways, was a force for stability in the Middle East and considered a “good guy” as long as he was fighting Iran. He was a secularist who had no use for the Islamic fanatics, and Iraq had some of the highest levels of education and best women’s rights in the region. So the U.S. invades Iraq for no good reason (“waging aggressive war” was one of the things the Nazis were convicted of at Nuremberg), summarily fires all government workers (some 500,000 people), looks the other way as people, both Iraqi and American, trash its priceless historical and archeological heritage, and lets the Shiites take over. The original “insurgents” saw themselves as simply defending their country against an unprovoked invasion, and Al Qaeda joined them only later, on the principal of solidarity with fellow Muslims.

                  Add to this the fact that Middle Eastern cultures have a strong “honor” code, which we hear of mostly in incidents where a woman who is believed to have been unchaste or even one who has been raped is considered a stain on the family’s “honor.” However, the “honor” code also includes not backing down from a challenge and avenging the death or maiming of a family member by killing someone from the other side.

                  Back in the 1980s, I heard a talk by a Catholic priest who had worked with Salvadoran refugees. He insisted that the Salvadoran government had created more guerrillas than Cuba could ever dream of. He told of incidents in which formerly apolitical people had run off to join the guerrillas after a family member had been tortured or murdered by the government. (In one horrific case, the death squads tortured a two-year-old to make his mother reveal the whereabouts of her husband–who was not a guerrilla until he heard of the incident.)

                  Now think of Abu Graib, the prison at Guantanamo, and all the secret detention centers around the world. Think of the innocent people killed as “collateral damage” with drones. All the people tortured and killed have relatives who are “honor” bound to avenge them.

                  The U.S. has been creating its own terrorists for nearly 15 years, more if you count our arming of the Afghan guerrillas, including the precursors of the Taliban, back in the days when we thought that becoming Communist was the worst possible fate.

  8. Submitted by David Frenkel on 12/15/2014 - 11:02 am.

    Chicken Hawk

    Simply put, Chaney is a chicken hawk. He avoided the Vietnam era draft with a medical deferment and rose through the political ranks to become a secretary of defense and then VP. I disagree with most of the social issues with Senator John McCain but he is a decorated military veteran who survived torture in Vietnam and he opposes all the torture the US has been doing. Why do chicken hawks promote war and torture and people like McCain oppose it because they have seen the results. Chaney will go down in history with Robert McNamara who was the architect of the US involvement in Vietnam.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 12/15/2014 - 11:18 am.

      Disagree with the McNamara comparison

      I hold McNamara in infinitely higher regard than I do Dick Cheney OR Don Rumsfeld. Can you imagine how the Cuban Missile Crisis would have played out if either of them were the SoD to Kennedy, especially with Curtis LeMay throwing his weight around?

      But yes, Cheney and Bush really are the ultimate chickenhawks.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 12/15/2014 - 11:54 am.


      Robert Mcnamara at least had the moral fortitude to admit he was wrong in his execution about the Vietnam War. Cheney, on the other hand, will go to his grave pontificating that he was true and just in his approach. Bush will simply go to his death bed painting puppy dog pictures and try to pretend that the whole episode never happened.

      It’s doubtful anyone will ever be tried for war crimes, but the court of history has already passed its judgment.

    • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 12/15/2014 - 01:59 pm.

      With his five deferments from 1959 to 1967

      (4 student deferments and 1 deferment for being a new father), Cheney avoided the draft, Vietnam war, and torture. He is the consummate chicken hawk disgrace.

    • Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 12/15/2014 - 02:58 pm.


      John McCain opposing war? Where have you been. The only good thing about Barack Hussein Obama in the White house is that he is not John McCain. If John McCain were there we would be involved in full scale wars on every continent.

      • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 12/16/2014 - 06:57 am.

        Obama Sucks!

        “Sure, George Bush & Dick Cheney tortured people, but at least they didn’t try to get working people health insurance.”

        -Chris Rock

        That Obama sue is one horrible person. Nothing good ever came from him.

  9. Submitted by Brian Scholin on 12/15/2014 - 11:11 am.

    9/11 9/11 9/11

    Don’t remember who said it back a decade ago, but I guess it’s still true: The veracity of any neocon assertion is inversely proportional to the number of times “9/11” is included.

  10. Submitted by David Markle on 12/15/2014 - 11:15 am.

    The nature of Cheney

    As Elmer L. Andersen succinctly put it, in one of his last editorials, Cheney is “an evil man.”

  11. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/15/2014 - 11:21 am.

    It’s sad and instructive

    that some people would rather be outraged at the treatment of terrorists than to be outraged at the murder of innocent Americans.

    When I was trained in the provisions of the Geneva Conventions as part of survival training, I was told that it only applied to those nations who had signed on to the treaty (they had to be soldiers fighting for a soverign nation, wear uniforms, etc.) al-Qaida doesn’t meet the criteria.

    “Affords some minimal protection,” is understood by most to mean providing them with food, water, protection from the elements, etc. People who’ve served in the military since 1949 have been given the same instruction.

    Regarding the definition of torture: We were told that torture was defined as anything that left a permanent mark or disability. John McCain’s untreated broken arm is an example of torture that resulted in his permanent limited arm movement. His experience also explains his sensitivity on this issue and his aversion to any questionable tactics whatsoever.

    Finally, that UN definition of torture you used is too vague for practical application. The Politico piece reminds us that “The most recent version of the treaties in force date from 1949; the United States has ratified all four though it has not ratified some of the protocols added later.” That is probably one of them.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 12/15/2014 - 11:45 am.

      Torture vague?

      Can I be outraged at both? Is it legitimate to feel a different kind of outrage when one crime was supposedly done on my behalf?

      I suggest you read the definition of torture in the UN Convention: “[A]ny act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.”

      That doesn’t sound “vague” to me. There is also the definition of torture in the US law against torture:”[A]n act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control . . .” Once again, that seems clear.

      “We were told that torture was defined as anything that left a permanent mark or disability.” We were told that by the Bush Administration. What did you think they were going to say?

      The unratified optional protocols to the UN Convention deal with allowing monitors from other countries, not the definition of torture.

    • Submitted by Paul Rider on 12/15/2014 - 11:47 am.

      I am outraged at both.

      We have learned that violence begets violence and yet we still act violently. When will we learn to try something else? The US response to the outrage of 9/11 was wrong [we’ve murdered far more innocents in our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq than were killed on 9/11, btw]. We have to do better. We simply cannot meet outrage with more outrage!

      • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 12/15/2014 - 04:20 pm.

        “we’ve murdered far more innocents…”

        “…than were killed on 9/11”.

        Most Americans have no idea how much death and destruction we’ve actually authored in response.

        See for some rational estimates.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 12/15/2014 - 12:02 pm.


      If you’re arguing about what is or is not permissible by law, you’ve already lost the moral high ground. The issue isn’t about doing what the law forces you to do, let alone dancing a pirouette along the line of legal definition. What’s at stake is your own moral fortitude and whether or not you think all lives matter, no matter what their political views are.

      Do you really believe that it’s only torture if it leaves physical marks? That’s an easy enough hypothesis to test out: have yourself waterboarded. Get yourself tied to a board, have someone dump water down your throat, and then come back and tell me it’s not torture. Conservative talk show host Eric Muller did exactly that. And you know what he said at the end?

      It’s torture.

      The video is here:

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/15/2014 - 12:27 pm.


        I’ve had the equivalency of water boarding done to me when I went through the initiation for crossing the arctic circle. One guy supposedly was water boarded 80 times. If it was torture he’d be dead.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 12/15/2014 - 01:46 pm.


          Were you strapped down? Were you being interrogated? There is a big difference between waterboarding and “having cold water splashed in your face,” as the Bluenose ritual was described by one prominent commentator.

          How about some of the other hi-jinks Mr. Cheney blustered through? Were you chained to the floor? Intentionally deprived of sleep for days on end? Hydrated rectally?

          • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/15/2014 - 02:38 pm.

            Oh, ok

            So having ice water poured onto my face while I laid on my back in a trough of ice water wasn’t the equivalency to water boarding, I would have also had to have been chained down too? So it was the *chaining* that was actually the torture part and not the pouring of water? mmkay.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 12/15/2014 - 03:04 pm.

              Poured onto your face

              As opposed to water poured onto a water-saturated cloth that covers your mouth and nose, with your head held back, so that you can’t breathe or keep the water out of your lungs. The pouring continues for up to 40 seconds.

              No, what you went through was not the equivalent of waterboarding.

            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 12/15/2014 - 04:12 pm.

              It sounds like what you are describing more closely resembles cold-water survival techniques than torture… and besides, as you said, it was part of some odd fraternal hazing ritual, and not intended to harm or extract information anyways.

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/15/2014 - 02:39 pm.

            During training, US Navy SEALS withstand everything you’ve mentioned there RB, with the exception of the dreaded enema torture. Love to hear an explanation from the genius who thought that one up.

            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 12/15/2014 - 02:55 pm.

              They can explain it to you,

              though it would cost you 80 million.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 12/15/2014 - 03:09 pm.

              SEAL Training

              Here is what a former master instructor and chief of training at the U.S. Navy Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School said about it:

              “It has been reported that both the Army and Navy SERE school’s interrogation manuals were used to form the interrogation techniques employed by the Army and the CIA for its terror suspects. What is less frequently reported is that our training was designed to show how an evil totalitarian enemy would use torture at the slightest whim.

              Having been subjected to this technique, I can say: It is risky but not entirely dangerous when applied in training for a very short period. However, when performed on an unsuspecting prisoner, waterboarding is a torture technique – without a doubt. There is no way to sugarcoat it.”

        • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 12/15/2014 - 01:47 pm.

          Please supply a credible source

          For your last sentence!

    • Submitted by James Hamilton on 12/15/2014 - 12:12 pm.

      Matthew 25:45 NKJV

      Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’

    • Submitted by Alfred Sullivan on 12/15/2014 - 12:54 pm.

      Count me as another who is outraged at both. But when I read the description of the “enhanced interrogation techniques,” I don’t need to consult a definition or lawyer to know that was torture. McCain is right in saying we should be better than this.

    • Submitted by Rick Prescott on 12/15/2014 - 02:34 pm.

      Making Cheney’s Argument

      So, basically, if I understand your (and Cheney’s) argument, it’s only torture if it meets some pre-established, agreed-upon definition of the word “torture.” It’s only torture if we call it torture. It’s only torture if no one approved it. And it could not, under any circumstances, be torture if it’s done to someone with whom no agreement has ever been made regarding what constitutes torture.

      Additionally, by the standard you were taught, it’s only torture if it leaves behind some physical scar. In other words, if you can figure out some procedure which does not leave a physical scar (such as rectal procedures), then it could never, under any circumstances, be considered torture.

      The absurdity of this type of thinking is horrifying — mostly because I know there are people out there who accept any or all of that as reasonable.

  12. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/15/2014 - 11:50 am.

    Methinks Eric’s outrage is a case of protesting *too much*.

    Cheney’s declaration is too obvious a truth, and the cognitive dissonance between wanting to believe Cheney is the Marquis de Sade and the defense, how ever slim, his observation presents is too much to bear.

    • Submitted by Rick Prescott on 12/15/2014 - 02:40 pm.

      The reverse?

      Would you be willing to consider the reverse?

      To someone who has already decided that Cheney et. al. must be viewed as Grand Saviors of the American Way, there would be a significant cognitive dissonance in contemplating that he/they may have sanctioned activities which were fundamentally incompatible with and/or damaging to the American Way.

      I’m willing to reconsider my thinking. Are you?

      It may take some time to sort out which way it goes, but history has a way of doing just that.

  13. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 12/15/2014 - 12:03 pm.

    as I, a human, understand it…

    Our rights as citizens grow out of our rights as humans. One of those rights is to not be tortured for no other reason than that you are a human. America went through 200 years of history without condoning torture. Now apparently the world has changed so much that we now endorse it as a nation. We regret it, but we condone it. Otherwise why is Cheney not in jail along with Bush and the rest of them. Torture is a sign that America no longer subscribes to the ideals of its founding.

    That Cheney is allowed on TV and debated as if he is discussing a tax cut or something is an obscene sign that America, the principle of America, is failing.

    And if what was done is not illegal then it should be allowable by domestic law enforcement. Why not? The police ask you a question like, “What is your name black guy in the St. Paul skyway?” He refuses to answer so you taze him and waterboard him until he tells you. Refuse to admit you were speeding? Let’s see what you say after a couple hours of “nourishing” enemas.

    As Ayn Rand taught us, some people are people, always right no matter what, others are just cattle, worthy to be used by the “real people”.

    In 200 years when the Chinese or some other power is at the top of the nation pile writing the history of the world, these days will mark the beginning of the fall of America.

  14. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/15/2014 - 12:03 pm.

    And of course…

    The fact that these supporters and defenders of the the torture regime all pretend to be champions of individual liberties, Christian values, and fear of tyrannical government, just betrays their duplicity. And let’s not forget the all the “personal responsibility” that’s supposed to go along with citizenship. Levying taxes is outright oppression, but torturing people is okie dokie.

  15. Submitted by Bill Kahn on 12/15/2014 - 12:04 pm.

    I remember the cartoon portrayals of Dick Cheney as Darth Vader and thinking what a disservice to the character this was. Vader was redeemed at the end, but there is nothing redeemable in Cheney as he personifies what is hated about America around the world.

    The new Congress and their battles and compromises with President Obama will show the world who we are; like Cheney, we will not come off all that well.

    2016 will bring us revolution instead of status quo in government.

    I’m hoping for a Clinton/Warren or a Warren/Clinton ticket and ousting of the Tea Party and movement conservatives from Congress for rebuilding our democractic republic to serve the people instead of Wall Street, so the latter ticket would be better. A Clinton/Clinton ticket might be fun, though.

  16. Submitted by Dan Kaufman on 12/15/2014 - 12:16 pm.

    Torture only makes things worse

    If Cheney and companions main goal was to catch those involved in 9/11 attacks, then torturing prisoners who may or may not have some connection to the attacks does not help the cause, it only makes things worse.

    The intel from a tortured prisoner is not reliable. They will say anything to stop the torture. It sounds like the US invested considerable time and money chasing false leads from these prisoners.

    Also, torture puts our troops in harms way (and maybe citizens overseas). Certainly, what ever we did to these prisoners could be done to our citizen. This also lessens the moral authority of the US. It seems harder for the US to complain about civil rights violations in other countries when we are willing to torture in this manner.

  17. Submitted by kevin terrell on 12/15/2014 - 12:38 pm.



    Are you saying that Cheney’s description of physical and mental pain that was intentionally inflicted on those victims in the towers was not torture? If so, is it because of the lack of official capacity on the part of those inflicting the pain? Or maybe it is the fact that the perpetrators were not actually attempting to obtain any information as a result of their actions – it was pure sadism. I’ll just spot you the bit about legal sanctions.

    You can disagree with Cheney on whether or not water boarding is torture. You can say his definition is incomplete. But I find it hard to legitimately characterize his description of torture as the slow immolation of clearly innocent people as “too stupid to let stand”. At least, I’m pretty sure the children on other end of the line might have used the word “torture” to describe what was happening to them, as they listened to and watched on TV as their father burned to death. I’ll bet he felt the same way.

    Maybe they didn’t have time to look up the UN Convention’s definition. You know, to get their words just right.

    Finally, you might watch the Fox News Sunday interview with Jose Rodriquez. He clearly states that Pelosi, Rockefeller, etc. knew exactly what was going on, and supported the Agency in what it was doing. Of course, since the Feinstein report appears to be a pack of cherry-picked half-truths and convenient omissions, we’ll have to wait to find out. Maybe you could do one of your multipart stories, dissecting the hypocrisy of Feinstein and gang?

    I like a lot of what you write, even if I disagree with it. This article and the tenor of it, however, is not an example of that.

  18. Submitted by Bill Willy on 12/15/2014 - 12:45 pm.

    Speaking of of checking with Politifact…

    ” … following World War II war crime trials were convened. The Japanese were tried and convicted and hung for war crimes committed against American POWs. Among those charges for which they were convicted was waterboarding.”

    — John McCain on Thursday, November 29th, 2007 in a campaign event in St. Petersburg

    “True,” they say.

  19. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/15/2014 - 12:47 pm.

    Let’s look at the conclusion Eric’s observation forces us to come to:

    Al Queda did not intend severe pain or suffering, physical or mental, be inflicted on Americans, or to punish them for an act they or their government (third person) committed or was suspected of having committed.

    Although they declared themselves Islamic fighters in a holy war, in no way did they intend to intimidate or coerce Americans or their government, for any reason based on discrimination of any kind.

    Stupid and insulting? Maybe not, but you can certainly see it from here.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 12/15/2014 - 03:20 pm.


      So, if I’m getting this right, your point is that what happened on 9/11 was torture, which was evil, so, it’s ok to commit torture and be evil, right?

      Ok. I’ll agree that there was intent to cause suffering by Al Qaeda. We called it “terrorism” then, but I’ll give you “torture” now. But, if we can agree on that, does it not also follow that what we did to innocent people (and, yes, even Cheney doesn’t disagree that there were innocent people) is also terrorism? I’m not going to agree that it’s ok for us to become a terrorist nation because other terrorist nations exist.

      You’re right. What Cheney said wasn’t stupid. It was evil.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/16/2014 - 10:04 am.

        My point is, the title of this post “Dick Cheney’s definition of torture is too stupid or insulting to let stand”, fails the fact check; Cheney’s definition of torture matches the UN definition.

        You’d like to get into a dissertation into America as a terrorist nation, which I’m certain would be fascinating, and I’d be happy to accommodate you, but I doubt the censors would have it.

        • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 12/16/2014 - 03:18 pm.


          As this is not a public forum, I doubt censorship would affect any conversation we had about whether or not we agree that the US is a terrorist nation. In fact, I think we could have that discussion here as long as we weren’t flinging personal insults. But, even if we typed out such a conversation and it didn’t show up here on MinnPost, it wouldn’t be censorship.

          Still, it’s unlikely you and I would see eye to eye on the subject given that you think that Cheney’s definition of torture fits the UN definition. Unless you mean to say that Cheney agrees that we just tortured various people, but we don’t want to CALL it torture. Which, of course, is stupid AND insulting.

    • Submitted by Bruce Johnson on 12/15/2014 - 04:52 pm.

      bin Laden’s intent was to do something so extreme to us that in our reaction we were stupid, if only temporarily. The Iraq invasion, the indefinite holding and torture of various people caught up in this, some who were obviously guilty and some who were obviously not, all served bin Laden’s wishes. That the venal and incompetent Cheney was in charge at the time made bin Laden much more effective. Of course the attack on 9/11 was intended to inflict pain and suffering, but its full intent was to incite a stupid reaction. Cheney complied fully.

  20. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 12/15/2014 - 01:11 pm.

    The man behind the curtain

    I’d say Mr. Ecklund has it right in categorizing Mr. Cheney as “the man behind the curtain.” He was the vizier to Emperor Bush on both domestic and foreign policy, and it’s too bad for our own society, not to mention those prisoners unfortunate enough to be caught up in the not-very-carefully-controlled dragnet after 9/11 – then held without charges for years, in violation of both our own Constitution and international law – that the vizier is himself morally bankrupt.

    I’m also inclined toward Mr. Ecklund’s 2nd conclusion regarding “chickenhawks,” though I might up the ante a bit. Cheney betrayed a covert CIA operative in the lead-up to the Iraq war because he didn’t like the politics of that operative’s spouse. Had a Democrat done something similar, he would already have been executed as the traitor that Dick Cheney has proven himself to be. The fact that he’s held several positions of responsibility in the federal government, elected and appointed, doesn’t absolve him of responsibility for treason, nor from the responsibility for numerous violations of international law done at his direction.

    When some religious lunatic in the Middle East executes another Westerner because… well, just because he’s a Westerner… we should keep “enhanced interrogation” in mind. Not for a second do I believe Mr. Cheney to be stupid, so it seems more likely to me that he continues to make his assertions based on the belief – much like the Democrat (Gruber?) thrown to the Congressional Republican wolves – that Americans are simply so stupid themselves, or so easily distracted by continued references to the brutality of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, that they’ll excuse or condone just about anything.

    In olden times, this would have been called by its correct name: arrogance.

  21. Submitted by charles thompson on 12/15/2014 - 01:44 pm.

    all around the world

    Dick Cheney doesn’t answer questions he only spouts outrage. 9/11 was a suicide bombing, plain and simple, masterminded by a Saudi. The facts didn’t interest Dick then and they don’t interest him now. He has an agenda and if you’re not on board he has ways of dealing with you.

  22. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 12/15/2014 - 01:59 pm.

    Round 3 but ,

    I’ll try again…

    Something that fails to come across in the transcript in Chuck Todd’s powerful interview, is the defensive nature of Cheney’s responses.

    One’ tortured’ interview:
    Reading between the lines it seems, is a better way to go… for Cheney appeared quite annoyed and demanding to be recorded that Bush was informed as much as he was like… ‘I’m going to pull George down with me too if things swing the wrong way.’

    I suppose as handler for George, Dick C, was not going to take all the blame here?

    I would suggest his self preserving certainty splintered a bit of his hard-core persona…

    Blustery and more than a little scared was this old man… and I did appreciate one example of investigative genius on the part of Todd…just aren’t too many around in the media like that anymore eh?

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/15/2014 - 02:35 pm.

      I don’t claim to have any special insight into Cheney’s thinking, but it doesn’t take much imagination to feel his frustration that there people out here that do not appreciate the fact that, despite an unabated bloodlust, Muslim terrorists haven’t been able to pull off a repeat performance of 9/11. Not to mention those who seem intent on doing as much damage to the US as humanly possible.

      Keep in mind, Beryl, this report is completely one-sided and very partisan in nature; they didn’t even attempt to interview anyone from the CIA, and seem to have completely ignored the fact that the Democratic led Senate was briefed on this interrogation program, and signed off on the majority of it.

      Rest assured, the coming GOP majority will pick up where Feinstein left off. There’s more to this story than we’ve seen here, and my guess is that we’re gonna see a lot of high profile Democrats doing some Olympic caliber backstroking next year.

      • Submitted by Rick Prescott on 12/15/2014 - 03:03 pm.

        Specious Reasoning

        Your (and Cheney’s) implication is that whatever was done was justifiable because no major terrorist attacks have happened since (which is actually not true). But you stick by the notion that whatever didn’t happen, didn’t happen BECAUSE we tortured the people we captured.

        But . . . I’ve also noticed that no attacks have come from extra-terrestrials during that time. Does that mean that torture prevented those as well?

        I’m reminded of a classic example of the concept:

        Homer: Well, there’s not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol is sure doing its job.
        Lisa: That’s specious reasoning, Dad.
        Homer: Thank you, sweetie.
        Lisa: Dad, what if I were to tell you that this rock keeps away tigers.
        Homer: Uh-huh, and how does it work?
        Lisa: It doesn’t work. It’s just a stupid rock.
        Homer: I see.
        Lisa: But you don’t see any tigers around, do you?
        Homer: Lisa, I’d like to buy your rock.

      • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 12/15/2014 - 09:48 pm.

        The end justifies the means

        At least Mr. Swift doesn’t claim to have any special insight into Mr. Cheney’s thinking. That would worry me.

        The bloodlust of lunatic Muslim radicals (or merely ordinary Muslims enraged by “collateral damage” inflicted upon their innocent loved ones by an American bomb, or cruise missile, or bullet gone wrong), so often cited by Mr. Cheney and his supporters, has nothing to do with the argument at hand. As someone else has pointed out, we haven’t been attacked by aliens from other worlds or galaxies since 9/11, either, nor have elephants taken wing. Should we attribute those to “enhanced interrogation techniques” as well?

        The possibility, or even likelihood, that there are high-ranking Democrats who supported these policies is similarly irrelevant. Torture is torture, no matter who made the decision and gave the order to go ahead.

        What Mr. Cheney and Mr. Swift would have us believe is that the end justifies the means. That position is just as morally and ethically bankrupt now as it has been throughout the 2,000+ years of Judeo-Christian thought and writing. It’s the ethical position of Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, the Khmer Rouge, Chairman Mao, the KKK, and a host of other genuinely despicable characters and organizations that have been briefly powerful during the past couple of millennia. Like Mr. Cheney, they had no regrets about their decisions and actions.

        • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/16/2014 - 10:16 am.

          That’s a great observation, Ray. Except the ends Stalin, Adolf Hitler, the Khmer Rouge, Chairman Mao had in mind revolved around establishing dictatorships. Bad means to bad ends. Not sure it got your message across.

        • Submitted by Barry Peterson on 12/22/2014 - 11:19 pm.

          I deeply resent your

          condemnation of the Arab region terrorists who were involved in all that has been discussed here as “lunatic Muslim terrorists.” While Islam has an honor code that sometimes violates the human rights of females, Islam is a peaceful religion. The two types of jihads are not offensive in nature. One is defensive and basically allows a Muslim or Muslims to defend their territory if attacked. The greater of the two jihads is the war and discipline waged within oneself to become a more honorable and enlightened person.

          ISIS and al-Qaeda are not truly Muslim, but come from people who share the religion of Islam as part of their regional heritage, for the most part (there are white U.S. citizens who converted to a bastardized form of Islam, that is not Islam, who became terrorists). ISIS is under the guise of Islam as more of a secular rant fraternity who uses the banner of Islam to justify their secular war for oil in Syria, Kurdistan, and Iraq.

          Any reference to those who mostly originated from the Arab world who call themselves terrorists are not recognized by much of the regional Muslim community in Minneapolis as truly being Muslim. To continue using any reference to “Muslim” or “Islam(ic)” in conjunction with the adjective “terrorist” is naive, and disparages a religion and the people who are true to the religion of Islam.

          Where do I receive this insight? My family, Lutherans by birth, (I am a Nichiren Buddhist (www (dot)sgi(dot) org) have served as attorneys and consultants and friends, and have lived as neighbors among many Muslims since the 1970’s. We have defended Muslims and fought for their right to worship in formerly much Catholic Columbia Heights.

          Having attended Macalester College and the University, and then moving into a quiet apartment complex serving 4,000 people, most of whom are Sunni Muslim refugees, and other Muslims and Christians from East Africa, I have broken bread with both ultra wealthy Muslims and very financially poor Muslims, befriending and serving many out of kindness and once receiving a fee for assisting a friend whose family were formerly Afghan nobility.

          I do not condone the human rights violations which Islam slams women with in some instances, but even in Islam, women are not always subject to authoritarian and violent oppression by their husbands, brothers, uncles, and grand-fathers. Islam allows women to study and practice in profession, and, in some areas, in politics.

          The naivete which I have seen expressed on this forum, and on the major television networks during the War in Iraq, and since then, have led me to connect with the viewers reps of CNN and CBS, where one of my great uncles was once a vice president. When my old television stopped working, I never replaced it; as, apart from Meet the Press and a few other programs, the nonsense the helps model our children and adults through propaganda and inane entertainment programming that leads far to many poorly-educated and morally deficit followers, leaders, and complainers to be unthinking moral-less sheep, not scholars and insightful citizens of the world and of our Universe, which is becoming smaller to us in mind and awareness every century.

  23. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 12/15/2014 - 04:51 pm.

    How many…..

    drone strikes on US citizens did Dick Cheney order?

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/15/2014 - 07:57 pm.

      He was not legally President

      so he had no authority to order anything.
      One could ask how many US citizens Bush/Cheney caused to be killed.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 12/16/2014 - 07:38 am.

      You really shouldn’t pursue that line of argument unless you can completely justify the hundreds of thousands of non-combatants killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 12/16/2014 - 09:02 am.

      Point of clarification

      Why are drone strikes worse than manned airstrikes? Or, for that matter, sending soldiers into combat on false pretenses?

  24. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 12/15/2014 - 07:43 pm.

    This is the same faux-patriotic BS of their entire administration. A belligerent response to shout down the opposition.

    Don’t you understand–we have to do the illegal/unconstitutional/irrational/stupid thing because you don’t want the terrorists to win, do you??

    Are you “real” Americans or not???

    IT IS as stupid as “freedom fries”.

  25. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/15/2014 - 07:50 pm.

    Some comments

    First, let me try to explain what I think Cheney meant: Stop feeling sorry for terrorists and feel sorry for innocent Americans. Those who made the last call from the Towers knew they would die AND they did not do anything to be in that situation. Terrorists that were caught were doing their dirty job knowingly AND they knew that they would not die at the hands of the Americans. I guarantee that all those who died on 9/11 would gladly take Cheney’s “torture” to be able to go back to their families. So I suggest that we all have to cry for those killed on 9/11.

    Second, read this part of the definition: “It [torture] does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.” Well, this was lawful sanctions as it was approved by the government lawyers who are always right, correct? I mean if they are right approving Mr. Obama’s immigration actions, they must be right all the time; otherwise, you pick and choose whatever action you like and say it is legal.

    Next question is who defines “severe” in relation to pain and suffering. Is life sentence a torture because it may cause severe mental suffering (read Count Monte Cristo)? Ask a toddler and he would say that a flu shot causes severe pain. Do not get me wrong – I am not trying to say that torture doesn’t exist – it does and NKVD and Gestapo knew what they were doing, but still, let’s be… more real.

    Next, Iraq. Its connection to Al Qaeda was minimal at that time but never say never. North Korea helps Iran with missiles even though North Korea is an atheistic socialist state while Iran is almost the opposite but their common enemy dictates cooperation. Hezbollah is Shia and Hamas is Sunni but common enemy unites them enough to share intelligence.

    A few more points: Yes there are laws of war but they apply to conventional wars, when everyone respects them – this is different. Imagine yourself in a National Park where hunting and killing animals is prohibited. Now you see a bear coming at your wife and all of sudden you remember that you have a gun in your car. Will you try to do by advising you wife to play dead or you will shoot the bear even if by doing that you are violating the law?

    Finally, can everyone commenting here swear that, if ever hired by the CIA and manage to catch a guy who is saying that a nuclear bomb will go off in Manhattan in an hour and laughs that they can’t find out where the bomb is, they will not use torture to get that information? And if they do not, what would they say in two hours after the bomb goes off? And do not say that it is an impossible situation – there were reports that terrorists are getting materials for dirty bomb… It is interesting to see all those who trust the government to do everything, do not trust it with our safety and security – its main responsibility (or they trust it when Obama is president but not when Bush?)

    It is all nice to claim a high moral ground when you are in the safety of your home and are not responsible for the security of the entire country.

    • Submitted by Rick Prescott on 12/15/2014 - 10:31 pm.

      Those are some pretty broad strokes…

      Just who, in this scenario, is supposedly “feeling sorry for terrorists”? And just who is NOT feeling sorry “for innocent Americans”? It seems to me that this isn’t an either/or proposition. You can feel sorry for both, if you like, or you can feel sorry for neither. Or you can pick and choose. All are valid options.

      But “feeling sorry” is a far too simplistic a characterization for this discussion. Those who would condemn torture are not “feeling sorry” for the people being tortured. Condemning torture is about upholding human rights, nothing more or less. If you value human life, it seems reasonable to put limits on what one human (or group of humans) can do to another human (or group of humans). This isn’t about “feeling sorry” for anyone, but standing up for a fundamental principle of humanity.

      You are free to disagree with that principle, but let’s be clear about what is at stake.

      If you want to argue that, in becoming terrorists, certain people have given up all of their basic human rights, that’s one thing. That is, perhaps, part of the discussion which needs to be had. (But then you must also provide justification for torturing people who were not terrorists, which actually DID happen.) It is not, however, acceptable to say that “since SOME terrorists did bad things to us, we get to do bad things to ANY terrorist.” I try to explain this to my children pretty much every day. Justice and vengeance are very close cousins, and our culture has lost much of the distinction.

      There are many other fallacies involved here which your comment draws on. They are certainly worth exploring. But they are all downstream from the real issue: Cheney’s rhetoric.

      Comparing the victims of a heinous crime (the 9/11 attacks) to the victims of torture at the hands of the CIA is false equivalency at its highest. Each act is horrifying in its own way, but beyond that, they have no connection to one another. It is completely false to describe the 9/11 attacks as “torture” unless you make clear that the word must be understood in very different ways for the two contexts.

      The victims of 9/11 certainly endured conditions which could be described as “torturous.” But no one stood there asking them questions and freezing them if they refused to answer. No one told them to start talking so that their pain might not get worse. No one offered deals in order to avoid even greater humiliation. Despite the fact that the 9/11 victims felt agony, no one “tortured” them in the sense being discussed today. Comparing the two in any way is grotesque and deeply manipulative.

      You may be tempted to dismiss it as a problem of semantics, but it is much more insidious. In fact, mixing up the two meanings of the word to create the false equivalency is a deliberate attempt to invoke an emotional response to replace a rational one. Cheney is no dummy. He is a master of propaganda. And that is what we are seeing now, pure and simple. After all, it has worked before…

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/16/2014 - 07:24 am.

        Yes and No

        No, comparing victims of 9/11 and terrorists being tortured is not a false equivalency because in fact what Cheney was comparing was the reaction to the deeds and feelings towards the perpetrators. And it looks like some people are more outraged at Cheney and Bush than they are at terrorists…. and that was what he was talking about. And that is false equivalency to compare people who wanted to inflict as much pain and suffering as possible on all of us and people who wanted to protect us and the country from another act of heinous terrorism.

        Yes, I do value human life and human dignity so in this we agree. But as you noted, I do take terrorists (all of them, including those who just want to commit a terrorist act) out of the category of humans so those values do not apply to them. We kill rabid dogs whose only fault is that they were bit by another rabid animal. Terrorists are worse than rabid dogs – they do things consciously – so they deserve what they get and even more. Distinguishing between “bad” terrorists who committed a terrorist act and “good” terrorists who only wanted to commit it but were stopped before is a false differentiation – they are all the same. The same as trying to say that victim of 9/11 were not tortured because no one was asking them questions: It matters how much people suffer and what they do to avoid it and as I said, all of the 9/11 victims would gladly agree to go through months of “torture” just to come home alive.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 12/16/2014 - 10:39 am.


          “Terrorists are worse than rabid dogs” So when people I like get into positions of power and declare a group of people (pick one, it really doesn’t matter which), subhuman, we’ll be free to torture to our hearts content? What a ridiculous and dangerous path of reasoning. You previously stated my comparison to gulags ridiculous and then perfectly illustrate it here. Who exactly gets to decide on one’s humanity? You? The political party in power at the time? Maybe we’ll put it up to popular vote, since the mob is always so even handed whilst doling out retribution. I have been flabbergasted by inane characterisations of what the ideals of this country are and should be, but this by far takes the cake, reverting us to the barbarism of the dark and ugly past. It has no place in today’s world.

        • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 12/16/2014 - 10:58 am.

          You value SOME human lives and dignity.

          Get it clear–no-one here is more outraged by the Cheney/Bush torture policy than the terrorists actions.

          They are two sides of the same coin–valuing some human life and dignity over others, through whatever rationale you want. Doing the same thing you decry in defense of what you say you hold dear.

          It’s the same division, us vs. them, used by all despotic regimes. “They” do not deserve the due processes of law. And that is exactly how your rights will be removed some day–when you become the “they”.

          Are you outraged by the hundreds of thousands killed in the pursuit of the Iraq BS?


          Some lives, over others.

          Admit it.

        • Submitted by Rick Prescott on 12/16/2014 - 12:47 pm.

          Please Listen to Yourself

          “…it looks like some people are more outraged at Cheney and Bush than they are at terrorists…”

          I don’t think this is a fair or accurate statement. I hear no voices defending the terrorists. I hear only voices reacting to the news that one horrible crime appears to have been avenged by the commission of another.

          “…people who wanted to inflict as much pain and suffering as possible…and people who wanted to protect us…”

          Look at that statement. What we know now is that the “people who wanted to protect us” (as you characterize them) also “wanted to inflict as much pain and suffering as possible” in order to reach their desired outcome. There could be no more damning statement about the moral bankruptcy of torture.

          “…I do take terrorists…out of the category of humans…”

          I’m not sure anyone actually gets to do this. They are human — homo sapien — and therefore equal in fundamental rights to you and me. This is a founding principle of our society.

          “Terrorists are worse than rabid dogs…so they deserve what they get…”

          We may agree on the first half of that statement, but I think this might be the right moment to point out that all of the people who committed the 9/11 crimes are dead, and were dead while the torturing took place. No one tortured them. In fact, we are not even discussing them. In one specific case, we may be talking about one of the criminal planners.

          But in most cases, we are talking about people who did not ever commit a terrorist act. Some were cases of mistaken identity. Some were “high value targets” who were suspected of having information (none of which was apparently ever discovered). Some were apparently suspected of planning things which never took place. Some were detained and tortured for reasons not yet revealed.

          To suggest that torture victims “deserve what they get” implies that they did something, and we’re finding out that that wasn’t necessarily the case.

          And even if it is determined (through appropriate legal processes) that someone has committed a crime, are you suggesting that torturing them is an appropriate punishment?

          “…all of the 9/11 victims would gladly agree to go through months of ‘torture’ just to come home alive…”

          Really? I think this is a non sequitur, as well as an indefensible statement.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 12/16/2014 - 07:58 am.

      We have criminals that do awful and repugnant things every day.

      Is subjecting them to the processes of constitutional law “feeling sorry” for them?

      Yes in some imginative, counter-factual world Al Qaeda and Iraq were connected–but not in the real world.

      In the real world, the Saudi’s that funded and directed 9/11 (and continue to fund ISIS and all sorts of other terrorism) remained the good freinds of the Bush/Cheney administration. The Saudi royal family members and security service people who were in the US at 9/11 were flown out of the US in secret during the “no fly” days after 9/11 under the protection of the same airforce that was to protect the US from the suicide flights.


      In his New Yorker article, posted on the magazine’s web site last week, Lawrence Wright tells how the Bush administration deleted 28 pages in the 2002 report of the Joint Congressional Inquiry on 911 probably because they describe in detail the Saudi connection to the Al Qaeda attack and Saudi financing of its operatives in the United States—people who knew two of the hijackers, and may well have been used as conduits for Saudi cash. Some of the money may have come from the royal family through a charity.

      In removing the 28 pages Bush said the publication of the information would damage American intelligence operations. The Saudis deny all of this.

      In fact no one would be talking about it now were it not for families of victims of the attack and insurers, who are suing the Saudis.

      Wright goes on to report:

      “There’s nothing in it about national security,” Walter Jones, a Republican congressman from North Carolina who has read the missing pages, contends. “It’s about the Bush Administration and its relationship with the Saudis.” Stephen Lynch, a Massachusetts Democrat, told me that the document is “stunning in its clarity,” and that it offers direct evidence of complicity on the part of certain Saudi individuals and entities in Al Qaeda’s attack on America. “Those twenty-eight pages tell a story that has been completely removed from the 9/11 Report,” Lynch maintains. Another congressman who has read the document said that the evidence of Saudi government support for the 9/11 hijacking is “very disturbing,” and that “the real question is whether it was sanctioned at the royal-family level or beneath that, and whether these leads were followed through.” Now, in a rare example of bipartisanship, Jones and Lynch have co-sponsored a resolution requesting that the Obama Administration declassify the pages.

      (end quote)

  26. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 12/16/2014 - 09:14 am.

    The unkown, known; the real unreal

    Listening to Mike Morrell with his arched fingers playing the table at Charlie Rose last night ( body language again, yup)…taking note of his past connections to CIA, present administration and present securities man for CBS, I was amazed at his support of Cheney and torture as a definition or otherwise.

    His interview should be repeated on Saturday Night live for its stooginess…and he is an expert on torture and all we hold dear?

    This is a man who represents all three monkeys…Speak-no-evil; Hear-no-evil See-no-evil in the torture game; a game board that says so much where we are and where we are going?

    I can only hope superficially, that drones and robots may develop a conscience where we have failed? And yes let’s think honestly here…think We and Us, rather than Those and Them?

    Wisest philosopher of our time is Pogo…”I have seen…and he is us”.

  27. Submitted by Steve Hoffman on 12/16/2014 - 02:50 pm.


    Do you really want to get your definition of “torture” from a man whose definition of “patriotism” is “start a war that will earn my company 38 billion dollars, and while you’re at it, don’t fund it, just put it on our China credit card”?

  28. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/16/2014 - 06:41 pm.


    I will begin with observation that no one still answered my call to swear off torture to prevent a nuke in Manhattan… and that quite a few of my other points were never refuted (including trusting government but only when your people are running it). And it also looks like all this outrage is (at least partially) dictated by partisan approach and hatred for Bush and Cheney…

    Anyway, let’s continue. Yes, I remember plenty of writing from the left saying that America deserved 9/11 and that we have to understand why they came here and so on. So there were plenty of voices defending terrorists… Where is that understanding when it comes to Cheney and Bush? So again, many people feel worse for terrorists than for those who protected us from them.

    Mr. Haas, terrorists are terrorists regardless of who is at power; people blowing up planes and skyscrapers are terrorists (each individually, not as a part of the group, so no bias here) however you want to spin it (and GULAG has nothing to do with it). And yes, they are worse than rabid dogs – do you think differently?

    Mr. Rovick, you are right, some lives over others – see above; terrorists’ lives do not deserve dignity (or preservation). Who deserves protection: A criminal or a victim? You are putting them on the same level. This is a false equivalency at its worst. So yes, it is us vs. them: they want to kill us. Do you want to be dead? And yes, I know better than anyone how this thing works in despotic regimes – and it is not like this! By the way, America did not kill hundreds of thousands in Iraq – Iraqis did.

    Criminals are American citizens and have the rights that terrorists do not. However, if Timothy McVeigh was caught and there were a possibility that there were another bomb somewhere, his interrogators would have had a terrible choice to make.

    Speaking Iraq and Al Qaeda, can you explain to me why Hezbollah and Hamas are friends even though everywhere else Shia and Sunnis kill each other?

    Saudis… I am not a fan of them for many reasons but are you saying that Saudi government intentionally helped al Qaeda to commit 9/11? And it does look like Obama is a friend with them, too…

    Mr. Prescott, people who defended us did NOT want to inflict pain and suffering; they just wanted information to defend you. Of course, terrorists biologically belong to homo sapiens species but that doesn’t mean they are humans in moral sense of that word and therefore NOT equal in fundamental rights to you and me. Unless we understand this, we are doomed because they do not have moral restraints meaning that they have all the advantages in the conflict. And those who planned 9/11 are no better than those who actually did it. Again, torture was not a punishment. When I said that terrorists are not humans and worse than rabid dogs, I did not mean that they should be tortured as a punishment – THAT would degrade us. But if there is a chance to get the info to save lives, then we should not feel bad about doing it.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 12/16/2014 - 09:36 pm.

      You watched too many episodes of 24–the TV/governmental propaganda platform for the Bush/Cheney administration–ticking time bombs, episode after episode–all calling for broken fingers, clubbing, guns to the head.

      And like all TV fans, you think the answer is easy, it comes in the last 5 minutes, the bad guy gives the good info only when slapped, that anything is justified by the results, and that you can have a country where there is a written rule of law for all except on the part of the government.

      What do you get when the “good guy” breaks the law? A criminal.

      (a clue for you on the Hezbollah/Hamas question—Israel !


      President Bush inexplicably censored 28 full pages of the 800-page report. Text isn’t just blacked-out here and there in this critical-yet-missing middle section. The pages are completely blank, except for dotted lines where an estimated 7,200 words once stood (this story by comparison is about 1,000 words).

      (end quote)

      Read some of the evidence in that article.

      What I find really interesting is that many of Saudi interests and goals have been achieved through the Bush/Cheney administration.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 12/16/2014 - 10:14 pm.

      There is little to say

      Beyond that you have a very poor understanding of what the idea of the United States is supposed to stand for. The ideas you espouse have no place in a humane, civilized society. As to your “question”, no, I would not torture, even in the circumstance you describe, the cost to society of travelling down the rabbit hole would be far greater than even that many lives, as it puts the lives of all who remain at risk of the monster you unleash.

    • Submitted by Rick Prescott on 12/16/2014 - 11:25 pm.

      Torture Is Unacceptable. Period.

      “I will begin with observation that no one still answered my call to swear off torture to prevent a nuke in Manhattan…”

      Torture is never acceptable, not for any person, nor any situation. This is my personal belief, and it is supported (unfortunately) by centuries of examples.

      Your hypothetical situation would make for a good TV show (oh, wait, it has already), but it suggests that torture has some sort of benefit. That notion requires a denial of what last week’s report found: Torture produced no actionable intelligence. None.

      This is not a surprise. Why tell your captor, someone you hate with every breath, anything? What is to be gained?

      To the contrary, torture can only stoke hatred. There is no way in which it could ever deescalate any situation. It cannot save anyone.

      The rhetoric of torture would have you believe that you are safer as a result, but the truth is the exact opposite. Do those who are tortured come to hate their captors less or more? Is their motivation to do even greater harm decreased or increased? Do they regard their original enemy with more respect or less?

      The fact is that torture continues and escalates the spiral of violence, and can only beget more violence. It cannot beget peace.

      The rhetoric of torture would have you believe that the United States is even more feared in the world because we might torture those who wish to do us wrong. But the sickening reality is that the United States is more hated than ever because we have just confirmed what has long been suspected about us: That we care only for ourselves, and that not even our alleged founding principles — namely, respect for the fundamental dignity of all people — truly inform our actions.

      • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 12/17/2014 - 04:28 pm.

        Not acceptable?

        What would you do with the mastermind of 9/11 and killer of thousands of people KGM? I don’t think I and many others would have a problem at all with it in at least his case and possibly a few others. What moral high ground can possibly be claimed from them? There is no moral high ground to be claimed in cases like this.

        • Submitted by Rick Prescott on 12/17/2014 - 08:06 pm.


          I don’t understand your point.

          Are you asking what to do with someone who has been accused of a crime? Well, you try them in a public forum and then apply the appropriate consequence based on the findings. That’s how our society is supposed to work. (There are equivalent procedures for non-citizens, even during times of war. The Geneva Convention comes to mind, though an update might be in order to handle actors not associated with any particular country.)

          What you “and many others” would or wouldn’t “have a problem” with is completely irrelevant, especially when the actions contemplated run directly contrary to what our country supposedly stands for.

          The moral high ground is found in upholding — under all circumstances, especially the difficult ones — what we supposedly stand for: Fairness and dignity for all.

          • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 12/19/2014 - 03:57 pm.


            You basically just made it for me by suggesting they should have been tried in a public forum. We should not forget who they really are and were trying to do. Putting them into that would be as irresponsible as it could ever get. Morality does not even come into play when it comes to someone who would stop at nothing to kill you. It is a shame some were tortured that did not need to since they were not part of it but that does not make it a war crime. It was a mistake and the process was mishandled with poor information due to a lack of a good way to tell both when someone was involved in it and if it would work on them or not. If even 1 American life was saved by doing it I’d say it was worth it because I value American lives over the lives of terrorists. I’m sure they would same the same thing about their lives vs americans but the difference is in their actions as evidenced by 9/11.

            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 12/19/2014 - 04:22 pm.

              Your Statement Fits the Definition of ‘War Crime’

              Your statement “…some were tortured that did not need to since they were not part of it…” can be summed up as ‘we tortured innocent civilians’ which is itself a war crime.

              Beyond that, I’m always amazed whenever anyone rejects using the American legal system as ‘irresponsible.’

              • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 12/22/2014 - 09:58 am.


                Those we were out to capture/kill tortured and killed thousands of innocent people on 9/11. To defend KSM and Osama by saying they should have been put into the legal system is shocking to me. I would defend any tactics used to get to those responsible for those attacks and the planned future attacks they were planning. It was regrettable that innocent civilians went through what would be called torture but it was necessary to at least ATTEMPT to weed out any information we could to prevent further deaths to americans on our own soil or any other soil. To not try to get information would have been raising the white flag and letting them get away with further attacks.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 12/21/2014 - 01:25 pm.

              Further clarification

              After the Second World War, the United States insisted on open trials for war criminals, with due process protections for the accused. It was considered a moral, as well as a legalistic, imperative.

              It was the Soviet Union–an unquestionably evil regime–that advocated “victor’s justice” of bullets in the back of the head.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 12/17/2014 - 08:59 pm.

          The moral high ground comes from US

          Not them. We have a choice in how to respond to aggression. We can seek retribution, like a child or criminal organization would, try to cause as much harm as we can to satisfy the base animal bloodlust contained within each of us. Alternately, we can respond as civil, rational adults and subject those that harm us to the justice system we hold so dear, to the rule of law we hold up as an example to the world. What you or others FEEL is right is irrelevant, what IS right has been codified into our national DNA, and is what should be held up as the highest, shining example of the “American Exceptionalism” you lot so love to crow about. That we, in the face of extreme provocation, do not revert to our bestial primal urges, but instead aspire to a higher ideal of honor and justice, especially when it’s the most difficult course to undertake.

          • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 12/18/2014 - 09:16 am.

            Responding with trying to get what information out of him was appropriate and necessary. It in the end did not provide as much as they hoped but was totally necessary. Evil people such as him would never give information to us with just asking or being put on trial. He is one of the most evil people on this earth and to suggest that we should be civil to him would do nothing to try to protect the country as they were doing. I would not sit and let them continue to plan and try to take our country down. I would do what I could to find out how to stop them. It simply isn’t about morality at all and isn’t right to suggest that it should be.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 12/18/2014 - 11:21 am.

              Evil is a subjective judgement

              Which is why it shouldn’t be used as a basis for determining what is and isn’t moral. There are many who suggest folks like Cheney are evil as well, that his actions made and make our country less safe. Shall we subject him to rectal feedings to be certain? There is a reason we codify our morality into a system of laws and why we so zealously protect basic human rights, that being it’s very easy to fall into the trap of labeling anyone or anything that flames our passions for retribution and vengeance “evil” or “subhuman”. It makes it much less complex to engage in awful behavior when the subject of such behavior has been deemed beneath us and unworthy of the basics of human dignity. This does not, however, make this behavior any less reprehensible, make us right, or absolve us of consequences for our actions. It’s simple delusional rationalization. We are, or should be, better than that, if our self- described ideals are to be taken seriously.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/17/2014 - 01:23 pm.

      False assumption

      Your opening defining statement (“I will begin with observation that no one still answered my call to swear off torture to prevent a nuke in Manhattan…”) assumes that torture would in fact be capable of preventing a terrorist attack. Since there is no evidence supporting this (and much psychological research to the contrary), your argument is based on a false assumption and therefore does not warrant an answer.

  29. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/17/2014 - 07:28 pm.


    Mr. Rovick, I never watched 24 and actually do not watch any of that stuff. So in fact I know that things are not easy and not black and white and so on. But sometimes, in order to actually do something great and do it quickly (like for example save millions of people) one has to simplify things in order to make a decision (and not starve himself like a Buridan’s donkey). When people do this, there is a chance that they will make a mistake but that is life.

    Also thank you for mentioning Israel as an explanation for Hamas-Hezbollah alliance. Sure it is – it’s their greatest common enemy. Now transfer it to Iraq – Al Qaeda (cooperation) vs. America (common enemy). Now this cooperation doesn’t seem so much impossible anymore, does it?

    Saudis – you bring them back again but you did not answer my question: are you saying that Saudi government intentionally helped Al Qaeda to commit 9/11? And if you are not, you reference is irrelevant.

    Now to those who said that they would not torture in conditions that I described. I appreciate your standing for your principles but, contrary to what Mr. Haas is assuming, majority of Americans support CIA in this case and would approve some limited use of torture to save lives. I am glad majority of Americans have common sense and do not want to die. How would you feel the next day after the bomb goes off? How would you feel if your family is in NY? I can again say never say never.

    Now we can discuss the effectiveness of torture. The report of course says that it did not help any but it is disputed by the CIA and many others and considering how political this report is I would trust professionals… Historically, there is ample evidence that torture gets results and valuable information (people tell the truth just because they do not want to be tortured – it is that simple, Mr. Prescott). There is also ample evidence that it forces people to self-incriminate and lie. That is why it should be the last resort and regulated (and cross checked, of course) but it should not be banned outright.

    Violence begets violence, torture breeds more hatred – those are very nice slogans but the reality is much more complicated (hey, I was accused of simplifying things, wasn’t I?) Terrorists who are being tortured already hate America and its people so if they start hating it a little more (even if it possible), we will not notice. Of course, if we capture them, ask nicely a few questions and then let them go, they will not hate us less… We are not talking about disagreement on voting rights and racism when it may help to deescalate the situation. As for America’s being more hated now, that just proves that this report should have never been released. Even though I really doubt that we are hated more now – by who I would ask… ISIS? Saudis? Taliban? But torture used at that time was meant to made us safer then – not now.

    Again, liberals trust government to run economy and regulate climate – things that governments are not intended for and not capable of doing and where we, the people, may draw our own conclusions based on open data and information, but do not want to give it a benefit of the doubt when it comes to the country’s security – the thing that is the main responsibility of the government and where we do not, cannot, and shall not know all the information. How is this consistent (not even mentioning defending terrorists’ motifs)?

    Now, I am not saying that all (or even any) cases of torture that report describes were reasonable and/or necessary. All I am saying is that trying to take high moral ground now is not taking a high moral ground.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 12/18/2014 - 07:54 am.


      Because you apparently can’t or won’t click on to the link given:


      Is the federal government protecting the Saudis? Case agents tell me they were repeatedly called off pursuing 9/11 leads back to the Saudi Embassy, which had curious sway over White House and FBI responses to the attacks.
      Just days after Bush met with the Saudi ambassador in the White House, the FBI evacuated from the United States dozens of Saudi officials, as well as Osama bin Laden family members. Bandar made the request for escorts directly to FBI headquarters on Sept. 13, 2001 — just hours after he met with the president. The two old family friends [Bush and Bandar] shared cigars on the Truman Balcony [of the White House} while discussing the attacks.
      Bill Doyle, who lost his son in the World Trade Center attacks and heads the Coalition of 9/11 Families, calls the suppression of Saudi evidence a “coverup beyond belief.” Last week, he sent out an e-mail to relatives urging them to phone their representatives in Congress to support the resolution and read for themselves the censored 28 pages.

      (end quote)

      Go read the full article–it lists multiple points of contact between Saudi royalty and government people and the 911 crew while in the US. And oddly enough, the article is written by a Hoover Institute guy–so don’t go on about “liberal conspiracies”..

    • Submitted by Rick Prescott on 12/18/2014 - 10:00 am.

      Not True

      “…people tell the truth just because they do not want to be tortured – it is that simple, Mr. Prescott”

      This is demonstrably untrue. Someone being tortured has many reasons to remain quiet, or to make something up, but if there is a truth to tell, no reason whatsoever to tell it. When dealing with someone who has already decided to torture you, what would make you think that telling the truth (assuming there is one) would cause the torture to stop?

      This is something of a difficult thought experiment, but if you can imagine yourself being tortured in an attempt to extract information you do not have, what would you do?

      Now, remembering that you hate and want to kill your captor, and are prepared to die for your cause, how is it different if you are being tortured for information that you do have?

      What if you have been snatched by some foreign government, placed in detention in a place unknown to anyone, and relentlessly tortured with questions you do not understand and cannot even hope to answer? Now how do you feel about torture?

      That actually happened — to real people — INNOCENT people — at the hands of our government. No one is even bothering to dispute that part of the report!

      You may be OK with torture (as long as it’s not you, and as long as the person MIGHT have something interesting to say), but I am not. It’s horrifying, and runs directly counter to the values that I think our country aspires to — or at least did at one time.

      • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 12/20/2014 - 11:22 am.

        The truth may not be what your captor wants to hear

        It may be the absolute truth that you don’t know where Person X is, but you will be unable to convince your captor.

        It may be the absolute truth that Person Y is innocent of any wrongdoing, but if your captor has it in his head that Person Y is guilty, telling the truth won’t save you.

        It may be the absolute truth that Person Z is a humanitarian committing civil disobedience for a good cause (helping feed a population that the government has targeted for genocide), but that will carry no weight for your captor.

  30. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/18/2014 - 06:49 pm.

    A few more points

    Mr. Rovick, I did read this – so what? First, this theory still doesn’t seem plausible to me since I can’t think of any reason for Saudi government to participate in 9/11 plot. Second, it does seem like a huge conspiracy theory which has been around for a while (Bush and the CIA organized/covered up/let it happen). Third, I do not see Obama cutting ties with the Saudis and I am sure he read the entire thing. And forth, and the most important, what does it have to do with the topic of torture we are discussing? Can we discuss the relevant things?

    Mr. Prescott, you do know that some drivers drive drunk and some drivers text and some drivers… you fill the blank. Should we stop using cars? You are using the worst case scenario (a sadistic interrogator and a suspect who knows nothing and arrested for nothing) which was not what I was talking about. I gave you one scenario where interrogators do not want to use torture but do not have unlimited time to have nice talks, a suspect who knows things based on other related information and his own admission, and is arrested because there are witnesses saying that he was tinkering with a dirty bomb components (and he has some chemicals on his hands). So now you do this thought experiment… I can give you other possible situations. A guy is caught in Pakistan who is linked to Taliban and is known as an organizer of school attacks; he tells you that tomorrow another school will be attacked – your actions? Or a guy who cut American’s head off is caught in Iraq and ISIS is threatening to kill another hostage next day and no one knows where that hostage is kept; this guy, being sure that America does not torture people, says that he knows where a hostage is but will not tell because he hates American and America – again, your actions?

    A person tortured does have a big reason to tell the truth, especially, if it is a very specific information that could be checked very quickly and easily (a bomb is hidden in a red boat at pier 2). And they would know that they are not in Gestapo – the torture will stop as soon as required information is received and checked. One more time: I do not condone torture in general – just want to keep that open as a last resort, as a way to save lives, not as punishment or retribution.

    Mr. Haas, you did say that some people consider Cheney evil which fully supports my theses that some people feel worse for terrorists than Americans killed. Your theory about sticking to our high ideals is great but when it comes to kill or get killed we should try to stay alive – see my example about a bear attacking your wife in Yellowstone…

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 12/19/2014 - 10:32 am.

      Questions on Bears

      1. Why wouldn’t they both just get in the car?
      2. If the bear killed Mr. Haas’ wife, should he torture the bear?

  31. Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 12/19/2014 - 10:28 am.

    “Mr. Haas, you did say that some people consider Cheney evil which fully supports my theses that some people feel worse for terrorists than Americans killed.”

    Okay, that statement right there, is super confusing (to me, at least), and entirely illogical. How can you make the leap from “some people consider Cheney evil” to “people feel worse for terrorists than Americans killed.”

    The only way that is possible is for you to have already arrived at the conclusion of “people feel worse for terrorists than Americans killed” so any chain of reasoning you come up with leads to the inevitable conclusion you have already ensconced yourself in.

  32. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/20/2014 - 08:25 am.

    Quick answers about bears: They can’t both get into a car because a wife is far away from it and won’t make it (bears run fast). And no, a bear will not be tortured if it actually kills someone – it will be hunted down and killed without mercy or any chance for defense (like I was hungry, she stared at me first, my cub was run over a week ago or I was abused by my father). On the other hand, no one needs intelligence from a bear on where the next attack is going to occur.

    I did not say that people felt worse for terrorists than for Cheney – I said that SOME people felt worse for terrorists than for Cheney. And the connection is obvious: Those people who think that Cheney is evil most likely were the ones trying to find excuses for terrorists then and still try to do it now (they defend their land (so does Cheney, by the way), America came and killed peaceful people there, they do not have any other way of expressing their opinion, they do social work in their countries, etc. Just read the left wing blogs and publications and you will see a lot of opinions like that about the Taliban, Hamas, and Hezbollah, they are the ones complaining about using drones to kill known terrorists…

  33. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 12/21/2014 - 07:56 am.

    Stop feeding the bears and …

    …and return to the dominant issue and the ugly CIA and its congressional supporters and loyalist sympathizers s… instead of playing Logic 101 with bears as its focus.

    There are still investigative reporterss among the media, thank the gods:
    Note the intensive report from the only mainstream media investigative team at NBC…”Bin Laden Expert Accused of Shaping CIA Deception on Torture Program” Matt Cole

    I say the CIA should be abolished and all who have supported the unholy crimes against the state need to be held accountable, tried and prosecuted…that’s all folks and have a merry holiday

  34. Submitted by tiffany vanvorken on 12/22/2014 - 08:18 am.

    yes torture

    if it stops one American from being beheaded.
    we protect our own, any way possible. that is who we are.

    • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 12/22/2014 - 10:02 am.

      That is a very immoral approach,

      the kind of attitude that prompts some pre-literate tribes throughout the world to call themselves The People or The Real People and everyone else The No-Good Thieving Crooks or The Stinking Beasts or something equally derogatory.

      According to that attitude, then other people are justified in torturing Americans if it will give them the information needed to stop the bombing or stop the drones. Right?

      Remember “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”?

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 12/22/2014 - 10:35 am.

      Yes beheading

      “if it stops one muslim from being tortured.
      we protect our own, any way possible. that is who we are.”

      What’s the difference?

      There is none.

      • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 12/23/2014 - 10:35 am.


        The difference would be that they are attacking an ideology and we are trying to capture terrorists that have attacked an ideology. Another difference is that they carried out large scale terrorism on civilians and continued to plan more attacks while we used “torture” to try to stop subsequent attacks and capture those responsible. Hope this is clear for you now.

  35. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/22/2014 - 10:26 pm.

    Bears and terrorists

    Ms. John-Knutson, who cares about logic if it is possible to score political points…. put all Republicans behind bars (maybe McCain may stay free) and, while we are at that, get rid of the CIA altogether. That will make America a much better country… for a few years until terrorists bring a dirty bomb here….

    Mr. Ecklund, what do you have against Mr. Haas and his wife that you support a bear? OK, I would actually feel sorry for all of them, including a bear…but a bear is much better than terrorists. Or will you root for terrorists as well, who want to kill all our wives… and us, too? And when it comes to fighting terrorists for survival, we do what it takes – again, see my bear example. As for difference, there is one and very significant: they behead people for fun and to terrorize people – so they do it publicly and brag about it; we will do it only to save lives.

    Ms. Sandness, the other people do not need justification to torture and behead Americans – they are doing that whenever they can. Well, they actually do have a justification for themselves – Americans are infidels. “Do unto others…” thing does not work with them – the same as it will not work with a bear in the Yellowstone in my example…

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